US to lift travel restrictions on eight Southern African nations

The US will lift the travel restrictions placed on eight Southern African nations today. The November 28 restrictions barred travelers

Jerome Delay AP

Photo: Jerome Delay/AP

The US will lift the travel restrictions placed on eight Southern African nations today.

The November 28 restrictions barred travelers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi from entering the US, in an attempt to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The end of the restrictions comes at the recommendation of US Center for Disease Control officials who have found that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are effective in preventing severe Omicron cases.

The news comes as the number of new COVID-19 cases in the US has hit record highs. An estimated 400,000 new cases a day are predicted over the next month. Likewise, already 73% of new cases are Omicron.

The US was one of the first countries to impose a travel restriction on the eight African nations, with many nations following suit. With the US’s removal of the ban, expect more nations to lift travel regulations that currently prohibit passengers from Southern Africa.

The efficacy of vaccines in and failure of travel restrictions to contain the virus, suggest the US realizes the global benefit of exporting its vaccines. Therefore, we may see a revitalized vaccination export push in the short-term.

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